Artificial Intelligence

Use AWS to secure tenant data at every level

Use AWS to secure tenant data at every level

In the realm of modern web applications and services, security stands as an uncompromisable priority. Safeguarding user data and ensuring that only authorized individuals access sensitive resources is at the heart of a trustworthy digital ecosystem. Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers a potent amalgamation of tools, including API Gateway, Cognito, and IAM roles, to engineer a robust security architecture that guarantees data confidentiality and integrity. In this comprehensive blog post, we'll embark on a journey through API Gateway's custom authentication, Cognito's capabilities, the significance of JWT for tenant identification, and the practice of data segregation to strengthen your data security strategy.


Understanding the Power Trio: Custom Authenticator, Cognito, and IAM Roles

  • API Gateway Custom Authenticator: At the forefront, the API Gateway custom authenticator empowers you to deploy tailored authentication logic before requests reach your backend services. This uses a lambda to control access based on custom criteria that transcend traditional methods like API keys or IAM users.
  • Amazon Cognito: Cognito provides an identity management solution that streamlines user authentication and authorization. It allows you to manage user identities, sign-up, and sign-in flows, and offers the flexibility to integrate with social identity providers.
  • IAM Roles: The AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) roles offer a secure means to delegate permissions to trusted entities. Instead of divulging long-term access keys, IAM roles enable the issuance of temporary credentials, minimizing security vulnerabilities.


Building a Holistic Data Security Strategy


Step 1: Leverage Cognito for User Authentication

1. Integrate Amazon Cognito into your authentication workflow. Cognito offers a range of options, including user pools for traditional user management and identity pools for granting temporary credentials to authenticated users.

2. Employ Cognito's user pools to handle user registration, authentication, and token management. This facilitates seamless user experiences while ensuring security.


Step 2: Custom Authentication Logic

1. Develop and incorporate custom authentication logic to Cognito's authentication flow. This empowers you to integrate additional authentication methods or third-party identity providers, tailored to your application's unique requirements.

2. Extend the authentication flow to include the extraction of JSON Web Tokens (JWTs) upon successful authentication. These JWTs contain user identity information and can be used for tenant identification.


Step 3: Utilize JWTs for Tenant Identification

1. Leverage JWTs to identify the tenant and role associated with a user by Embeing tenant-specific data within the JWT payload. This data can be used to customize roles and ensure data security. 


Step 4: IAM Roles for Data Segregation

1. Create distinct IAM roles corresponding to different user roles and tenants retrieved from the JWT token. These roles should be assumed by the backend.


Step 5: Secure Data Access and Segregation

1. Configure your backend services to validate JWTs and assume the role created by the custom authenticator. This ensures that only authenticated users with proper permissions access your resources.

2. With IAM role-based data segregation, user access is confined to their respective tenant's data, preventing unauthorized access and preserving data isolation.


Advantages of the Enhanced Security Strategy

1. Multi-Layered Security: The combined power of Cognito, custom authentication, and IAM roles delivers multi-layered security that guarantees only authenticated and authorized users access your resources.

2. User-Centric Experience: Cognito streamlines the user experience, simplifying registration, sign-in, and token management while preserving security.

3. Tenant-Specific Data Handling: JWTs enable tenant-specific data segregation, facilitating tailored user experiences and robust data isolation.

4. Least Privilege Principle: IAM roles adhere to the principle of least privilege, granting users precisely the permissions they require for their roles and tenants.

5. Scalability and Compliance: As your application grows, the architecture accommodates new users, roles, and tenants while adhering to security standards and compliance requirements.



In the ever-evolving landscape of web applications, data security holds unwavering significance. By synergizing API Gateway's custom authentication, Amazon Cognito's identity management, JWTs for tenant identification, and IAM roles for data segregation, you build a security framework that not only fortifies data but also ensures the integrity of user experiences. This holistic approach aligns with industry best practices, offering a secure, scalable, and customized environment that users can trust as they engage with your application.


Date posted: August 29, 2023

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